Christmas Trees

The first twenty minutes or so of the latest festive frolic are perfect Doctor Who- whimsical, funny, affecting and imaginative. James Bond-like we join matters at the end of an unseen adventure as the Doctor saves the world but ends up plummeting to Earth in a safety suit from which he cannot escape. Its wartime Britain but resourceful housewife Madge Arwell helps him receiving a promise of a favour in return if she ever needs it. Three years later with her pilot husband missing believed dead; Madge wants to give her two children one great Xmas before telling them the truth she has so far avoided revealing to them.

"Blimey, Rory's changed a bit!"


Winter's Reach

Thought last winter was cold? The people of 1664 might have something to say…

One of the aspects of winter we have got used to recently is the media informing us of “snow chaos” as the temperatures plummet, snow falls and ice lurks in hidden corners.  Certainly the winters of 1962-3 and 2010-11 qualify as bad ones but generally people around today have escaped the UK’s very worst winters. During the decade up to two years ago we became used to mild winters with very little snow and no need for 18 layers of clothing. That may not be the case for much longer though with many climate scientists suggesting we are entering a mini Ice Age similar to the one that created some of the severest winters in the 1600s.


Time Frames

Martin Scorsese's new film Hugo is wonderful- and frustrating but definitely worth seeing.
Words: John Connors

Sometimes a film arrives that defies categorisation and simply sits majestically in its own space. Though marketed- somewhat erroneously- as a children’s movie, Hugo is such an enterprise. While not without flaws and sometimes struggling to contain a narrative packed with exposition, Hugo is a delight because someone dared to make it.

There are easier ways of telling the time...


Snow Business

If this winter is anything like the last two, snowmen should be appearing everywhere. While it may supposedly be children who make them the truth is that snowmen fascinate people of all ages.

The best time to make one is when snow has compacted but is still moist, a few days after it has snowed rather than straight away. If the snow is powdery it won’t stick together properly.  You can make a large snowball by simply rolling the snow until it is large enough- some people create three spheres for head, torso and lower body. If you’re ambitious then you could shape it out of one huge lump of snow but this is harder work.


Missing Misfit Makes A Difference

Can Misfits survive without its lead character?
John Connors looks at the first half of the third season to find out.

At first it seems as if the departure of Robert Sheehan and his larger than life character Nathan will make little difference to Misfits. Newcomer Rudy with his two personalities talking to each other initially proves easily able to make us forget Nathan.  Joe Gilgun provides identifiable enough gaps between Rudy’s two aspects and the conversations he has with himself are wittily scripted and performed. In a Nathan like way, for much of the first episode he’s at risk of making the others seem a little dull and responsible. Visually the episode bristles with confidence from its trademark shooting style and some excellent effects, the most subtle of these being Curtis’ shadowy morphing which seems to happen without you noticing.


The Third Assistant Director & The Showgirl

John Newman reviews the film My Week with Marilyn

In 1956 Marilyn Munroe came to the UK to film The Prince and the Showgirl an inconsequential Terrance Rattigan penned comedy also starring Laurence Olivier. On set as well, working as a third assistant director was Colin Clark whose connections had wrangled him the job of third assistant director in which he ended up looking after the Hollywood star. Filming was legendarily fractious; in one sentence in this film, adapted by Adrian Hodges from Clark’s book, the character sums up the differences between Marilyn and as she dubs him “Lord Olivier” as two stars in different fields both seeking the credibility that the other had.